The Sessional Papers of Canada by Title (SPCT) brings a 25-year run of Canadian government documents to light by making them digitally accessible to the public and discoverable at the individual sessional paper level.
Sessional papers are a collected series of reports, documents and papers tabled in the House of Commons or Senate. Included are annual reports of departments, boards and Crown corporations, government estimates and pubic accounts, royal Commission and task force reports, election returns, censuses, statistics, government responses to committee reports, papers detailing with government policies and written responses to questions asked in the House and Senate. These documents are important primary sources for the study of the political, social and economic life of Canada.
Before the launch of the SPCT, this wealth of documentary sources was buried in a large paper collection with very limited keyword indexing. In 2007, the University of Toronto Libraries (UTL) partnered with the Internet Archive Canada (IAC) to scan 470 volumes of the Sessional Papers and make them available via the Internet Archive site. In 2009, UTL had also scanned the indexes and developed a finding aid to facilitate the access of this collection. However, researchers were still required to locate the sessional paper numbers across multiple years and multiple volumes in order to access individual documents. In 2013, UTL created metadata for about 1780 sessional papers. IAC, with the assistance of UTL, completed the translusion by manually splitting the scanned content into individual files. In 2016, UTL collaborated with IAC to have the SPTC hosted by Internet Archive.Serial titles
A great deal of time was spent researching and grouping serial titles together to enhance discovery. The serial groupings with clickable links are listed under the “Topics” on the right hand side of the page. Higgins’s Canadian Government Publications was used to follow the ever-changing names of serial titles, departments and portfolios within departments.Published dates versus content dates
The annual report of a particular department might be published a few years after the fact. That is why we have both years available. The published dates are included under the field “Published” and are sortable. The content dates are available under the field “Year” and are not sortable.Are the large maps and foldouts included?
Over 740 large maps and foldouts were scanned separately at UTL and are listed with metadata on the University of Toronto Map & Data Library page for “Canadian Sessional Papers Maps (1901 – 1925)” with both jpeg and tif files. These images are also linked at the volume level of the collection at IA as part of the metadata. Small maps remain within the text of the sessional papers. Ontario Legislative Library supplied most of the foldouts for scanning.How about the French version and the papers prior to 1901?
We are a group of professionals and graduate students at UTL, IAC and Ontario Legislative Library committed to providing public access to information.
Sam-chin Li is a reference and government information librarian at UTL. Andrea Mills is an archivist at IAC. Marcel Fortin is the Head of the Map and Data Library at UTL. Paul Armstrong is a digital scanner at the Information Technology Services of UTL. Brian Tobin is the manager of Content Management at the Ontario Legislative Library. Graduate student library assistants at UTL contributed many hours to this projects: Margaret Wall, Nich Worby, Mary Gu, Jillian Harkness, Melissa Walter, Julia Reddy, Laura Robb, Zack Macdonald and Rachel Rogers._________________
1 Marion Villiers Higgins, Canadian government publications; a manual for librarians (Chicago: American Library Association, 1935).